The Driller Killer (1979) The Driller Killer (1979)
Sandra Harris reviews "Driller Killer" (1979), an infamous video nasty by cult director Abel Ferrara! The Driller Killer (1979)


This horror film is one of the so-called ‘video nasties’ banned in the UK from 1984 until 1999 and, truth to tell, it is pretty nasty, but it’s good gory fun too. If you like that kind of thing. Which I do, heh-heh-heh. As the title suggests, and it’s pretty clear and unequivocal, the film is about a killer who uses a regular old household power drill to commit his murders. That’s one use for your Black And Decker, I suppose.

The film is on the BOX OF THE BANNED that I received as a pressie from a mate, by the way, and, just to let you guys know, the other little beauties in the boxset of six previously banned movies include the following: I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS, THE EVIL DEAD, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN. Are you guys salivating with jealousy yet? You’d better be, haha.

Anyway, the killer’s name is Reno Miller, and he’s a talented but temperamental artist living in New York in the ‘Seventies. He hasn’t hit the big time yet so he struggles to pay his bills, or at least he would struggle if he didn’t have an attractive flatmate, Carol, to bail him out of any financial worries that crop up. Rent and suchlike. You know, the everyday sh*t the rest of us have to deal with by ourselves. Sorry if that sounds bitter but, well, you know.

Reno and Carol seem to have been a couple at one point, but Carol is currently banging Pamela, a gorgeous drug addict who brings new meaning to the word ‘bimbo.’ She has great hair and blowjob lips, a breathless little-girl voice and the terrific real-name of Baybi Day. If you like shots of naked women getting it on in the shower, there’s just such a scene in the movie. Lots of footage of bare bosoms delicately rubbing against bare bosoms and so on. If that’s your thing. I can personally take it or leave it, haha.

To get back to the good-looking but tortured Reno, he kills because he seems to have both daddy-abandonment issues and mental problems. The people he kills are mostly elderly male down-and-outs who sleep rough in the area and mental defectives who hang around the bus-stop, harassing folks.

It doesn’t take a shrink to work out who Reno’s really killing every time he takes his power drill and inserts it into the brain of the nearest homeless man. The killings are genuinely gory. Well, come on. It’s a goddamned drill, after all…!

I watched this film with a friend. Long before the killings started, we were worried about how you could use a power drill as a murder weapon when you’ve got to plug it in to a power source and you then only have limited movement. I mean, you can only move as far as your whatchamaycallit, your lead. Imagine having to say to your potential murder victim:

‘Um, excuse me, so sorry to be a pain but, um, could you move a little closer, please? Only, um, my lead only stretches so far, you see.’

‘Oh, not at all, that’s no problem. Is this close enough? I can move closer if you’d like?’

‘Oh no, no, that should be fine, thanks. If you stand perfectly still, I should be able to do you from here.’

‘Oh good, glad to be of assistance, anytime.’

‘Thanks, you’ve been an absolute joy to work with.’

Any-hoo, the problem is solved when Reno sees a TV ad for a gizmo called the Porto-Pak, a battery pack which allows for portable use of corded electrical appliances. My friend and I just fell about laughing when our dilemma was resolved. It’s nice, isn’t it, when a plan comes together…?

I loved the whole living-in-New-York-and-being-a-struggling-artist thing. As a struggling writer-slash-film reviewer living in twenty-first-century Dublin, Ireland (as opposed to the other Dublin, I think it’s in America somewhere!), I can really relate to Reno’s pain and frustration at just how hard it can be to make a living in the arts.

I hated the character of Tony Coca-Cola. You can just tell by his name, can’t you, that he’s going to be a massive tosser? I thought the ending was both hilarious and pure class at the same time. I love endings like that.

Reno is a bit of a toxic person and he’s certainly a bad boyfriend/flatmate but I liked him anyway. Stand-out scenes include Dalton Briggs the art agent getting the shock of his life and any scenes featuring the buffalo. And a big shout-out to the Porto-Pak. It made the whole thing possible.

-Sandra Harris

Email: [email protected]
Websites: SandraFirstRuleOfFilmClubHarris

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Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin. Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in numerous publications and she positively adores the horror genre in all its forms. She can be contacted at: [email protected] Website: sandrafirstcluboffilmclubharris

  • Stalkeye

    You won me over when you mentioned “Zombie Flesh Eaters”.

  • CoolHandJuke

    When I saw the picture, I thought it was a pretty woman review…

  • “Lots of footage of bare bosoms delicately rubbing against bare bosoms and so on.”


  • Loved this one. Grimy late 70s / early 80s NY is the best NY.

  • Tarmac492.1

    just watched this on fandor. reminds me of my y 1990s except i had better teeth and never killed anyone

  • Tarmac492.1

    a dirty new york is a good new york

  • Tarmac492.1

    this Sandra Harris picks good flicks

  • Stalkeye

    XD Bro, that would make for an hysterical epitaph!

  • Stalkeye

    <—New York back then, wasn't that far off from JC's Escape from New York.
    From Times Square to the Bronx, it want a pretty picturesque scenery as it is today.

  • Stalkeye

    Shoot her an email, and let her know. (;’

  • Stalkeye

    <—-*Reads Sandra's blog *

    "This film is a bleak and nasty but chillingly realistic-seeming depiction of what it would be like if the dead suddenly rose up and started walking around the place for no apparent reason.

    It’s not a warm and cuddly zombie film, like George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD(1978), in which the survivors holed up in the mall have a great old time looting the stores for fur coats, guns ‘n’ ammo and all the booze they can chug-a-lug.”

    Hah! Love her already!!!! Tar, we gonna have to fight over her.

    But all kidding aside, this is some good writing!! Welcome to the Supernaughts!
    We hope to see more of what you have to offer.

  • Tarmac492.1

    mice vough cough funbags